DOCUMENTS & RESOURCES
Excerpts from March 11, 2020, House Armed Services Committee testimony forthcoming...
EXCERPTS FROM SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE TESTIMONY JAN. 31, 2020
Adm. Faller on China’s influence in Latin America and the Caribbean
“I look around the region and I see China working on multiple port deals, I.T. infrastructure, dams, mining, logging, fishing, including a significant illegal fishing, illegal mining and illegal logging. And I look at the port access that they're pursuing in El Salvador, Jamaica, Bahamas. I ask myself the question, ‘Why would China want to buy an island and lock up a 99-year lease for most of the coast of El Salvador, right here within a two-hour flight of the continental United States?’
They're trying to achieve positional advantage right here in our neighborhood. And that's alarming and concerning to me. And it drives the sense of urgency with which I -- I look at this competition.”
Adm. Faller on regional threats:
“Over the last year I've had the opportunity to visit our partners and see firsthand the opportunities and challenges that directly impact the security of our hemisphere. I've come to describe the challenges of vicious circle of threats that deliberately erodes the security and stability of this region and the United States of America.
This vicious circle is framed by systemic issues of young democracies with weak institutions, rampant corruption, exploited by trans-national criminal organizations, often better funded than the security organizations they face; external state actors that don't share those values, China, Russia and Iran; and violent extremist organizations. They're trying to advance their interests at the expense of U.S. and partner nation security.”
“This vicious circle can be seen most acutely in the tragedy that's Venezuela.
The human suffering of this once thriving democracy has driven 5 million people to flee to neighboring countries like Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile and more. These countries are dealing with this and the strains to their health care, education and social services are palatable.
Colombia alone spent $2.5 billion, a significant part of their GDP over the last two years, just to support the migrants.
While Russia, Cuba and China prop up this illegitimate Maduro dictatorship, the democracies of the world look for a way to get the Venezuelan people what they deserve, a free and prosperous Venezuela.”
Adm. Faller on Russia's disinformation campaign in the region
“The disinformation campaign that Russia has been on is truly about, in all instances, painting the United States in an inaccurate light. One example is reporting that I was on the border of Venezuela about to lead an invasion force. Another example was they twisted it just enough in an article in R.T., to say that I had said something that was at odds with the vice president of the United States, which was just completely baloney.
Their largest by volume, outside of their Russian-language effort in social media, is in Spanish. You have to ask, what's the national interest of Russia in that disinformation here in our neighborhood and around the world? And it's concerning to us.
We've countered within our means in information operations, military information support, a strong partnership with State Department, and alignment in messaging, information with some increased authorities in cyber to go after them and put the truth out and try to -- try to make a dent in that space.
But more needs to be done, clearly, and more should be done to take advantage of machine learning, those types of skills that the department's embarked on, to really get after to thwart their disinformation campaigns.”
Adm. Faller on counter-illicit trafficking efforts
“Senator, as we have discussed, the deaths due to the narcotics overdoses, drugs is -- it's too many and it's a national security challenge. And those pathways that they come through, just as easily are used by terrorists and other illicit materials. And we can't do enough to get after that challenge to right here our neighborhood and how it erodes communities across the country.
Over the past year we've focused on building our partners to get them more into the game. Fifty percent of our interdictions last year were partnered-enabled in nations like Colombia, that have stepped to lead their own exercises and operations.”
“SOUTHCOM and NORTHCOM work very closely together. General O'Shaughnessy and I traveled to Mexico -- Mexico City. We sat down with the head of their army and their navy to talk about how do we improve information-sharing, how do we get after these ungoverned spaces that are spawning instability into North America and beyond and South America, Latin America, Caribbean, and how do we help the Mexicans share information with Guatemala. It was a very productive meeting. We came up with tangible steps to do that. And then we went to Guatemala City the next day and had that same level of conversation with those nations to try to forge more coordination.
At the heart of getting after these wicked problems that created instability here including the human trafficking is sharing intelligence, building trust, breaking down barriers, understanding and then ensuring that the right agency -- law enforcement agency, other agencies have the information they need to make an impact and so that's a key element of what we're doing as we move ahead and we take that into exercise program which is also a similar element. We are adequately resourced to do this but we are carefully looking at how we can become more efficient as we move forward.”
SELECTED TWEETS, HASC TESTIMONY, MARCH 11, 2020
SELECTED TWEETS, SASC TESTIMONY JAN. 31, 2020